Clear Expectations and Email Clichés

Clear Expectations and Email Clichés

Yesterday we shared an interesting article from Julie Beck at The Atlantic: “Thank Heaven for Email Clichés”. Beck raises a couple of points that are pertinent to Timyo:

1. Expectations are important.

“To some degree, this is the expectation of all of us who send emails professionally—a kind greeting and a kind sign-off to sandwich the actual message. That’s not a bad thing, when the alternative is requests and demands splatted on your screen without a buffer of civility.”

It’s easy to decry email clichés like “I hope you’re well” and “Best” as empty and insincere, but, as Beck points out:

“’Best’ signals ‘I am ending this email politely,’ and ‘I hope you’re well’ signals ‘I am starting this email politely.’ And because they’re so common, you can use them without any worry the signal will get lost.”

When we receive business emails, we have a certain expectation of tone. For me, especially when I’m receiving an unsolicited email, these little niceties go a long way to blunt the force of some stranger just straight out asking me for something.

Rather than coming off as insincere, these words signal something more like “I understand that I’m asking for your time, and I am willing to expend a modicum of my own time and energy to not come off like a complete jerk”. I appreciate that.

2. Finding the right words can be tough.

One of the reasons we fall back on clichés is because they are a good way to make sure our message is clear. Everyone understands phrases like “I hope you’re well” and “Best” precisely because they are so commonplace: it is a feature, not a bug.

I once received an unsolicited email from a guy who started by congratulating me on “the great article” he had recently read about Timyo. At the time, Timyo was keeping an intentionally low profile, and there hadn’t been any articles about us, great or otherwise. This to me signaled not only insincerity on his part but a lazy refusal to even google “Timyo” and see what came up…and what didn’t.

That guy would have been a lot better off with a simple “I hope you’re well”.

Timyo makes politeness and clarity easy.

Built-In Expectations in Email tomorrow

Sending clear expectations politely is important in email, and Timyo makes it easy. By letting you tell the recipient exactly what you want and when you want it with a direct, polite automatic message, Timyo helps you say: “I value your time”. As we talked before about priming, setting this polite (and time-saving!) tone from the beginning is the best possible way to start an exchange.

Beck writes that “every email doesn’t need to be a masterpiece”. And I’d agree with that…but there’s also nothing wrong with aiming for masterful email writing.

Using Timyo to communicate expectations politely frees you up to focus on the actual content of the message, making that perfect email masterpiece all the more likely.

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